July 29, 2014

Mitt Romney did not pay less in taxes than his secretary (and raising capital gains tax will destroy the economy)

TAMPA, December 1, 2012 ― President Obama and the Democrats were successful in 2012 largely on the strength of some rather outlandish demagoguery. “Billionaires pay fewer taxes than their secretaries” was one slogan that was particularly successful.

The Obama campaign successfully made an issue out of Mitt Romney’s taxes, finally getting Romney to admit that he paid around 13% of his earnings in taxes over the past several years. The “fair share” crowd contrasted this with the higher percentage that would have been paid by a secretary in the 28% bracket, for example, who would still pay more than 13% even after deductions.

That Americans bought this specious argument is more worrisome than that the Democrats made it.

Romney’s tax percentage was low because most of earnings came from capital gains, not income. Capital gains are just what they sound like. They are the appreciation in the value of one’s capital. If you buy a stock at $5 per share and its price goes up to $7 dollars per share, you have realized $2 in capital gains. If you sell that stock at a $2 dollar profit, the government wants a percentage.

Right now, Mitt Romney would pay 35% income tax and 15% on capital gains. The average secretary would pay 15% income tax and 15% on capital gains. So, Romney’s tax liability as a percentage of income is more than double the average secretary’s. His tax liability on capital gains is the same. Obviously, Romney’s nominal tax payments in both categories would exceed the secretary’s by orders of magnitude.

That’s how things actually are out here in the real world.

So why is the tax rate on capital gains lower than on income? Because “capital,” by definition, comes from previously taxed income.

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Election 2012: Was Obama the lesser of two evils?

TAMPA, November 8, 2012 – “We’re all socialists now.”

If all of the pre-election hype about the presidential election being a choice between socialism and capitalism was true, then that statement must be true.

I doubt most Americans believe it.

In fact, Obama is no more a socialist than Romney is a capitalist. Obama has not called for state ownership of the means of production. Romney has not called for a laissez faire economy. Absent the rhetoric, they would both be most accurately described as European social democrats.

For libertarians, the choice between them was “heads the government wins, tails libertarians lose.” It is generally assumed that libertarians would consider Romney the “lesser of two evils.” I don’t think that’s true.

Romney’s rhetoric employed buzz words that both libertarians and conservatives respond to, like “free markets,” “small government” and “less taxes.” Obama’s rhetoric employed universally recognized code words for wealth redistribution like “fairness,” “fair share” and “investment.”

However, when you strip all of that away, the policy platforms of the two men were virtually identical.

Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthy to help balance the federal budget. Romney does not disagree. Romney stated – over and over again in the first debate – that his plan to lower the income tax rates while simultaneously “closing loopholes” (translation: eliminate deductions) was aimed at getting the wealthy to pay more while giving small business and the middle class a tax break.

When Obama says it, he’s a socialist. When Romney says it, crickets.

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…

Interview (Video): Christina Tobin of Free and Equal Elections Foundation

TAMPA, November 4, 2012 – “Remember, remember the 5th of November.”

So says Christina Tobin, found and chair of the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, a 501 (c)3 non-profit formed to ensure a fair an open electoral process for all. The organization is sponsoring its second presidential debate this election season on November 5th at 9 PM EST. Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson will square off against Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

Johnson and Stein won the right to participate by finishing first and second, respectively, in an online vote conducted after the first Free and Equal debate on October 23rd. In addition to Johnson and Stein, Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson also participated in the first debate.

While united in their opposition to the two-party system, Johnson and Stein have very different ideas about the role of government and the solutions to America’s problems.

“They do have a different take on things such as healthcare and so on, but my feeling is that the two-party system has been playing us for over a century now and they’ve made us quite divisive. I do foresee, after this election, a huge movement of independents running for office and finding, well, we do have a lot in common across the spectrum,” said Tobin.

Watch the video interview at Communities@ Washington Times…

Read Free Chapters of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America here!

 

Support for Kill List and NDAA make Obama and Romney unfit for office

TAMPA, November 2, 2012 – It wasn’t so long ago that the following statement could only appear in a dystopian novel or movie script:

The U.S. President has killed an American citizen without due process, without even charging him with a crime. His decision to do this has been challenged by members of neither party.

While the media-fueled frenzy goes on about how supposedly different Romney and the conservatives are from Obama and the liberals, no one even raises an eyebrow about this terrifying political development.

Not even the left, which quite correctly howled at passage of the Patriot Act and the Bush administrations’ other assaults on freedom.

Bush and the Republicans committed egregious crimes against liberty, but did not go near this far in violating the even more important right to life.

The president makes a mockery of the term “due process” by claiming that the requirement is fulfilled by a panel of his own self-appointed czars and cronies reviewing the case. This doesn’t even pass the constitutional test. The panel is exclusively comprised of members of the executive branch of government. Judicial power is explicitly denied to the executive by the plain words of the constitution.

At any previous time in American history, a summary execution by the executive without due process would have been considered cold blooded murder and an act of tyranny. Yet, it has happened in the light of day and neither the political class nor the citizenry has batted an eye.

If even this does not rouse American citizens to stand up to their government, to what would they conceivably say “no?”

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…

Read Free Chapters of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America here!

 

Do Americans still believe that government is evil?

TAMPA, October 28, 2012 – Nine days before Election Day, Americans are hunkering down into their traditional Republican/Democratic camps. Supposedly, the future of American society rests upon which corporate-backed candidate wins the presidency. Americans of the past would have regarded this as complete nonsense.

In late 1775, the shot heard ‘round the world had been fired and the American colonists had Boston under siege. Still, most Americans either favored reconciliation with Great Britain or were undecided.

Then, in January 1776, Thomas Paine released his instant bestseller, Common Sense. It is this pamphlet that is credited with persuading a critical mass of American colonists to support American independence from Great Britain. In it, Paine laid out his arguments about the role of government and why the British constitution failed in fulfilling this role for American colonists.

The very first plank he laid down in his argument was that government was evil.

“Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil;”

Paine, Jefferson and other founding fathers recognized government for what it is: the pooled and organized capacity for violence of the whole society. This idea comes straight out of John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government. There is no law, no matter how minor, that is not ultimately backed up by the threat of violence.

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…

 Read Free Chapters from A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

 

Libertarians vs. Conseratives on the welfare state

TAMPA, October 26, 2012 – Many people think of libertarianism as a subset of conservatism, but that’s not true. Libertarianism and conservatism are completely separate philosophies with distinct and separate philosophical traditions. The philosophical differences result in very different positions on issues, from domestic to foreign policy. Their differences on the welfare state provide a perfect example.

Most Americans believe that President Obama and the liberals believe in wealth redistribution and that Republicans/conservatives are against it. That just doesn’t line up with the facts.

While Republicans make general statements against the welfare state, they actually support 95% of the actual spending. A key plank of the Romney/Ryan campaign is “preserving and protecting Social Security and Medicare.” That’s more than half of welfare spending alone. They also support government subsidization of housing, agriculture, energy and other “job-creating” programs. They are willing to support corporate welfare if they believe it will be good for the overall economy.

The only criticisms Republicans generally make are for social safety nets like TANF. This illustrates a key difference between conservatives and libertarians on welfare.

Libertarians object to the welfare state on this basis: Any taxes collected from citizens are collected under a threat of violence. You pay or you get kidnapped at best, killed resisting at worst. Therefore, libertarians object to using the taxing power to take money from one person or group and give it to another. When individuals do this, it is called “armed robbery.” For libertarians, it is no different when the government does it. It is the crime itself that libertarians object to.

Conservatives see it differently. They don’t object to the crime itself. Rather, they formulate their positions based upon who will receive the benefits. Redistribution to certain types of people is acceptable, to others it is not. That is why they will excoriate the “welfare queen,” whose impact upon the budget is minimal, while fully supporting Social Security and Medicare, which will eventually bankrupt the entire government.

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…

Obama and Romney on reviving the economy: Blow up the education bubble

TAMPA, October 18, 2012 – Mitt Romney has been able to cruise through two debates with Barack Obama by utilizing a surprising strategy. When Obama has gone on the attack, citing the “draconian cuts” that the delusional on both sides of the aisle imagine Romney would propose as president, Romney has completely defused the president by simply telling the truth.

He’s not cutting anything.

He went a step further during last night’s debate. Like Obama, Romney is not only refusing to cut a single penny from any government program (other than Big Bird), but he’s now on the record that expanding the welfare state is a key plank in his “job creation” plan. In addition to stating “I want to make sure we keep our Pell Grant program growing,” Romney went on to emphasize the importance of keeping student loans available.

Forget the supposedly conservative principle that it is immoral for the government to force one citizen to put up his money to guarantee loans taken out by another, much less force that citizen to pay another’s tuition outright. That principle is long, long gone from the conservative psyche.

What is disturbing is that neither candidate seems to have any idea that their plans for education will exacerbate a bubble that has all of the same characteristics of the housing bubble.

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…

Questions Obama and Romney won’t have to answer at tonight’s debate

TAMPA, October 16, 2012 – Tonight, we will be subjected to another presidential “debate,” in which two candidates who agree that government is the solution to everything argue about whose central plan is better. With the questions coming directly from the electorate and super-liberal Candy Crowley deciding which ones to ask, there is not much chance that big government will be challenged by anyone.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the candidates were actually asked substantive questions that couldn’t be answered with rehearsed talking points? Here are just a few that you won’t hear asked in any debate or interview:

1. Both of you support U.S. military involvement in the Middle East and elsewhere against nations that have committed no acts of war against the United States. How do you justify planned military action when no state of war exists?

2. Both of you support employing the U.S. military to promote “democracy” in other countries. Why is the U.S. taxpayer financially responsible for the liberty and security of everyone on the planet? When will this financial responsibility end?

3. You both agree that President Obama was right in signing the last NDAA bill which has provisions allowing the arrest and indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the military without due process. How do you reconcile this policy with the 4th and 5th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution?

4. It is almost universally acknowledged that Social Security and Medicare have unfunded liabilities that can never be paid, with Medicare representing the graver financial threat. Both of you argue that the programs must be preserved. However, don’t U.S. citizens who weren’t even born when these programs were started have a right to opt out of them, if they agree to waive all benefits in exchange for not being required to pay in? Would you sign a bill allowing younger workers to opt out under those conditions?

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…

Gary Johnson and the empty chair at the first presidential debate

TAMPA, October 5, 2012 – The first presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama was staged by professional television producers. The podiums were positioned such that they were turned three quarters toward each other but still facing the cameras and just the right distance apart to make for a good wide shot of the two candidates.

In addition to an informative debate, the producers also wanted to deliver a first-rate television production.

The results were up to the standard one would expect on such an occasion, but if the producers really wanted to make the most effective use of their medium, they should have taken a page from Clint Eastwood’s playbook. There should have been an empty chair right in the middle of the stage, between the two podiums.

Philosophically speaking, it might have represented the entire range of opinions and ideas that fall outside of what best-selling author Tom Woods calls “the Mitt Romney-Hillary Clinton Continuum.” They are all of the ideas that we little people are apparently not allowed to even hear.

More specifically, the chair would have represented Gary Johnson, a former two-term Governor of New Mexico and Libertarian Party nominee for President.

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…

Romney-Obama debate as competitive as professional wrestling

TAMPA, October 4, 2012 — The early consensus after last night’s debate between President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is that it was a win for Romney. That depends upon how you define “win.”

Certainly, Romney came off as more confident in his answers, while the president seemed distracted at times. However, if this was a battle of ideas, then the outcome was about as uncertain as professional wrestling. Anyone who was listening could tell that this wasn’t a real fight. Big government was the predetermined winner the minute that Romney was nominated.

Yes, Romney made a few references to “competition” and “private markets,” as did Obama. But neither of them is interested in giving free markets a try. In that sense, Obama was at least a little more honest, except when he made the ironic statement that “the genius of America is the free enterprise system.”

The first segment concerned the economy and “creating jobs,” something the government has no role in whatsoever in a free market. The only valid government policy to create jobs from a free market perspective is one that stops the government from doing what it’s already doing. Neither man proposed this.

For many decades, the federal government has employed the same ruse in an attempt to centrally plan the economy while at the same time claim it is fostering free enterprise.

Step One: Tax the living daylights out of everybody and everything.

Step Two: Give “targeted tax cuts” to firms in sectors the central planners think should grow.

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…